We were in Aspen last evening, attending the Sojourner magazine annual party. It’s a nice soiree that’s a bit less high-society than one expects these days, with lots of long time locals showing up. Highlight of the evening was their yearly acknowledgement of several folks who’ve made substantial contributions to the town. This year they feted newspaper columnist Mary Hayes and her silver smith husband Jim, philanthropist George Stranahan, social maven Mary Jane Garth, and 10th Mountain Division vet turned environmentalist Bob Lewis (who recently passed away).
Aspen is in the midst of a mountain culture revival brought on by the the town’s incredible inventory of government subsidized housing, a 4-lane highway that connects with a valley full of locals, the Aspen Skiing Company’s commitment to offering open boundaries and in-bounds backcountry skiing, and the presence of numerous wealthy people who drive an astonishingly robust local economy.
Sojourner’s current holiday issue does a good job with this complex social mix. Larded in with a ton of slick ads that support the mag (thank you very much), you’ll find gems like a surprisingly enjoyable fiction piece from novelist Scott Lasser, and an interesting take on past and possibly future Olympians of the area, including well known snowboard athlete and cover girl Gretchen Bleiler, along with Games hopeful Jake Zamansky, the stud who graces this issue’s cover.
So what about backcountry skiing? Inside this issue you’ll find an article I wrote titled Sacred Gifts of the Backcountry. In the piece I attempt a narrative list of the many gifts we receive from our sport — with a spiritual and somewhat Judeao Christian slant that ties in with Christmas gifting. The article is illustrated with an amazing array of images from a variety of photographers. If you’re around Aspen and can check out the article, I’d like to know what you think.